Situation analysis, process description, and state-of-art of tele-consultation solutions in the 7 pilot sites and in the BSR

The Baltic Sea Region (BSR) is confronted with an ageing population, which leads to a rising demand for primary health care (PHC) services. Moreover, an increasing lack of health workers and medical doctors challenges the maintenance of PHC within the BSR. Above all the brain drain of health professionals is affecting particularly remote areas in the whole BSR. There is evidence that professional isolation is a leading cause for this brain drain.

The overall aim of PrimCareIT is to raise the attractiveness of remote primary health care for medical professionals by the means of tele-consultation and tele-mentoring. Thereby, the project counteracts brain drain and professional isolation in sparsely populated areas for more equal access to primary health care in the BSR.

A better deployment of tele-consultation and tele-mentoring including social media has strong potential to reduce professional isolation and to provide opportunities for professional networking, continuing medical education and career development for younger and experienced doctors and health workers in remote areas.

This report contains the results from the Task 4.1: "Situation analysis, process description, and state-of-art of tele-consultation solutions in the 7 pilot sites and in the BSR" concerning "Counteracting brain drain and professional isolation of health professionals in remote primary health care through tele-consultation and tele-mentoring to strengthen social conditions in remote BSR".

The report contains state of the art material on tele-consultation and related topics of interest for the task of PrimCareIT in general and especially for piloting. The analysis shows that technologies exist, cases exist and a need and context exist, but that implementation issues exist due to the fact that understanding of current, and future, healthcare situations is much up to what is desired, and not what can be done and supported. This is to some extent a political dialogue of countries to decide upon, and also a question on to what level interoperability of systems is desired.

The report also contains legal aspects and first draft of technology needs for piloting, together with draft plans for pilots. The literature review and the situation analysis respective tele-mentoring showed that the state of the art in the countries is still on different levels.

For more information, contact Prof Tobias Larsson, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden.